Performance issues are the biggest concern for software developers. Load testing is an area that presents an opportunity for professional software developers to obtain a qualitative simulation of how well
A computer, peripheral device, server, network or application is subjected to a work load that is close to its limit specifications. A model is created to analyze the performance of the system by simulating a real world class of users. This way, professional software developers can determine whether the software can handle high workloads during high demand periods.
Additionally, load testing remains a valuable avenue for testing maximum operating capacity, bottlenecks response time, speed and bottleneck capacity.
Benefits of Load Testing
The main benefits of Load testing include determining what would affect the operation of software during normal and peak performance, simulating real world scenarios and helping firms save resources by pointing out defects early in time.
The most valuable decision while embarking on a load testing project is choosing the right tool. It is a tough decision to make given that the market is flooded with numerous performance testing tools. Each tool comes with associated costs, benefits and limitations. They present a whole variety of features and the wrong choice could land you and your team into future headaches and challenges.
The existing performance testing tools are usually classified under the following factors: Accuracy, cost, ease of scripting, monitoring, extensibility and reporting.
The tool you pick is highly influenced by the objectives of your project. A comprehensive load testing process entails putting the requirements of the end user foremost.
An excellent load testing tool, whether free or commercial should meet each of the following system requirements.
- Protocol support
- Need for Dedicated IPs
- Cloud Test
- Number of virtual users
- Whether Software as a Service (Saas) or Self hosting
To come up with a precise answer on whether it is possible to trust free load testing platforms and their performance, it is important that we take a look at the differences between free and paid load testing platforms.
Load Testing Platforms: The Difference
- The free load testing platforms lack a supportive customer desk, which means there is limited User Interface support for developing scripts and getting feedback while running tests. On the other hand, Commercial load testing tools have a supportive team that is readily available to offer feedback and help in case you find bugs you can’t fix.
- Free load testing platforms have an extensible plug-in architecture that allows users to add more functionality and boost performance. On the other hand, commercial load testing tools come as fully fledged tools with technologies and frameworks that are constantly updated. Hence enabling the user to only concentrate on testing their software and not increasing testing tool functionality.
- Free load testing tools are usually suitable for testing performance on small workloads and simulation sets while commercial testing tools are aligned towards strong real-time monitoring that help identify server side bottlenecks.
- Free testing tools are highly focused only on web based protocols while commercial testing tools are known to Support a wide range of protocols with additional support for proprietary software.
A robust strategy for load testing is equally important when looking to meet the professional needs of your software’s end users. A great strategy will define adequate parameters that drive overall functionality of a given software.
Now, the type of tool to use comes into play at this point. Since the professional software developer will want an application that syncs with any number of users; the following testing scenario of an effective testing tool should be taken into account. The platform, script development, test scenario development, task execution, analysis, reporting, support and the type of license (Cost).
Note that basing your choice on the cost or type of license (Whether paid or free), you might be ignoring over 95% of other factors that define a great load testing tool.
The demands for professional load testing in software development lifecycle, call for high attention to detail and high functionality. You might end up overlooking some important factors when choosing a low cost solution and eventually make it even more expensive to maintain the software. Image Source